The 13-year-old effort by a Seattle man to hold the Vatican responsible for priest abuse ended Monday, according to a report from Vatican Radio. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal in John V. Doe vs. Holy See after years of wrangling over the legality of suing the Vatican and whether it acts as the employer of U.S. priests.
The suit involved a man now in his 60s who accused the late Fr. Andrew Ronan of molesting him when he was a child in Oregon in 1965. The plaintiff tried to place the blame on the Vatican, saying that as Ronan’s employer, it was ultimately responsible for his actions. U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman in Portland ruled last year that the Vatican was not Ronan’s employer and not liable in the case.
The suit made headlines two years ago because it forced the Vatican to release more than 70 documents detailing Ronan’s career as a priest with the Servite order. He was laicized in 1966.